Genocide in Bosnia

Bosnian Genocide, 1992-1995

Posts Tagged ‘Holocaust Survivor

Holocaust Survivor: Forty-thousand Bosnian Muslims Targeted for Extinction in Srebrenica

In 2004, Presiding U.N. Judge Theodor Meron – who is Polish-American of Jewish descent – delivered a historic speech at the Srebrenica Genocide memorial located in Potocari (near Srebrenica). His speech was both moving and inspiring, but also educational. We hope you read it carefully and learn from it. Judge Meron is a holocaust survivor.

Judge Theodor Meron (Srebrenica Genocide Judgement) Holocaust Survivor

It is with honour and humility that I stand today at the Potocari Memorial Cemetery. This place is a daily reminder of the horrors that visited the town of Srebrenica during the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The crimes committed there have been well documented and have been recognized – and roundly and appropriately condemned – by the United Nations, the international community in general, and by the people of the region of former Yugoslavia. These crimes have also been described in detail and consigned to infamy in the decisions rendered by the court over which I preside, the International Criminal Tribunal of the Former Yugoslavia.

I have had a special wish to visit the Potocari Memorial Cemetery because earlier this year I had the privilege of sitting as the Presiding Judge in the appeal which, for the first time, judicially recognized the crimes committed against the Bosnian Muslims in Srebrenica in 1995 as genocide. In that case, named Prosecutor versus Radislav Krstic, the Appeals Chamber of our Tribunal convicted one of the leaders of the Bosnian Serb assault on Srebrenica, General Radislav Krstic, for aiding and abetting genocide. The Appeals Chamber also found that some members of the Main Staff of the Bosnian Serb Army harboured genocidal intent against the Bosnian Muslim people who sought safety in the enclave of Srebrenica, and that these officials acted upon that intent to carry out a deliberate and massive massacre of the Muslims in Srebrenica.

The judgment which the Appeals Chamber has pronounced will be of importance not only in acknowledging the crime committed in Srebrenica for what it is, but also in developing and enhancing the international criminal law’s understanding of genocide. By discussing and elaborating the legal requirement of genocide, and by explaining how they applied it in the circumstances of Srebrenica, the Appeals Chamber has facilitated the recognition – and, I hope, the prevention – of this horrible crime.

Many victims of this crime lie here, in this cemetery. In honour of their memory, I would like to read a brief passage from the judgment in Krstic, the passage which discusses the gravity and the horrific nature of the crime of genocide, and states unhesitantly that its perpetrators will unfailingly face justice.

“Among the grievous crimes this Tribunal has the duty to punish, the crime of genocide is singled out for special condemnation and opprobrium. The crime is horrific in its scope; its perpetrators identify entire human groups for extinction. Those who devise and implement genocide seek to deprive humanity of the manifold richness its nationalities, races, ethnicities and religions provide. This is a crime against all of humankind, its harm being felt not only by the group targeted for destruction, but by all of humanity.

The gravity of genocide is reflected in the stringent requirements which must be satisfied before this conviction is imposed. These requirements – the demanding proof of specific intent and the showing that the group was targeted for destruction in its entirety or in substantial part – guard against a danger that convictions for this crime will be imposed lightly. Where these requirements are satisfied, however, the law must not shy away from referring to the crime committed by its proper name. By seeking to eliminate a part of the Bosnian Muslims, the Bosnian Serb forces committed genocide. They targeted for extinction the forty thousand Bosnian Muslims living in Srebrenica, a group which was emblematic of the Bosnian Muslims in general. They stripped all the male Muslim prisoners, military and civilian, elderly and young, of their personal belongings and identification, and deliberately and methodically killed them solely on the basis of their identity. The Bosnian Serb forces were aware, when they embarked on this genocidal venture, that the harm they caused would continue to plague the Bosnian Muslims. The Appeals Chamber states unequivocally that the law condemns, in appropriate terms, the deep and lasting injury inflicted, and calls the massacre at Srebrenica by its proper name: genocide. Those responsible will bear this stigma, and it will serve as a warning to those who may in future contemplate the commission of such a heinous act.”

Those who drafted, on the heels of the Second World War and the Holocaust, the Convention for the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of genocide, were animated by the desire to ensure that the horror of a state-organized deliberate and massive murder of a group of people purely because of their identity will never recur in the history of humankind. The authors of the Convention hoped that by encapsulating the crime of genocide, by declaring unambiguously that it will not go unpunished, and by requiring the international community to do the utmost to prevent it, they will forestall forever attempts to annihilate any national, ethnic or religious group in the world. As the graves in this cemetery testify, the struggle to make the world free of genocide is not easy and is not one of uninterrupted victories. But I would like to think that by recognizing the crimes committed here as genocide, and by condemning them with the utmost force at our command, we have helped to make the hope of those who drafted the Genocide Convention into an expectation and perhaps even a reality. As I stand here today, I can do little better than to repeat the solemn warning sounded by the Appeals Chamber of our Tribunal that those who commit this inhumane crime will not escape justice before the courts of law and the court of history.

Finally, I take this opportunity to call, once again, for the authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina to meet their obligations under international law to cooperate fully with the ICTY. It is simply unacceptable that the authorities in the Republika Srpska have yet to arrest and transfer any individual on their territory who has been indicted by the Tribunal. This situation cannot be allowed to continue and I would like to see a dramatic change in the Republika Srpska’s level of compliance with its legal obligations. It is hightime that the RS break with its tradition of non-cooperation and obstruction of the Rule of Law.

In this regard, I take note of the findings in the Republika Srpska Srebrenica Commission’s preliminary report, which I see as a step in the right direction. It indicates a new readiness to come to terms with painful events of the past and to constrain revisionist tendencies. However, the process is far from complete.

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Bosniak Boy Raises Awareness of the Holocaust

Summary: 7th grader Bosniak boy, Emin Seferovic-Drnovsek, reports a visit to his Chicago high school by Samuel R. Harris, Holocaust survivor and president of Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center. Emin gives a vivid account of how Harris described his experience of the Nazi invasion of Poland, the ghetto, concentration camps and mass murder and then remarked on the common purpose of his own campaigning and Emin’s mother’s work on genocide prevention and raising awareness of the Srebrenica Genocide. The Holocaust survivor explains that bullies like Adolf Hitler an Radovan Karadzic, the former Bosnian Serb leader who masterminded the Srebrenica genocide, need to be stopped so “the Holocaust and genocides won’t happen again.” The boy tells how his Bosnian Muslim grandfather, Mensur Seferovic, had been captured by Nazis and sent to the concentration camp in the World War II.

SAMUEL R. HARRIS AND MY MOM

By Emin Seferovic-Drnovsek

On April 29, 2009 at William Howard Taft High School, Samuel R. Harris came as a guest speaker. He spoke to the 7th grade Academic Center students during their 6th period class. Mr. Harris was invited to talk about the Holocaust. The 7th grade language arts teacher Mrs. Asvos has been having us reading “Night” by Elie Wiesel which is about the Holocaust. Ms. Asvos worked hard and got Mr. Harris to come to our school. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by genocideinbosnia

December 15, 2010 at 4:30 pm

Elie Wiesel: Bosnian Muslims Suffered "Auschwitz in Bosnia"

“How can you ever adequately punish a man who is guilty of ordering the assassination of 8,000 human beings [in Srebrenica]?” – asked Elie Wiesel.

Mr. Elie Wiesel is a Jewish writer, professor, political activist, Nobel Laureate and Holocaust survivor. He is the author of over 40 books, the best known of which is Night, a memoir that describes his experiences during the Holocaust and his imprisonment in several concentration camps. Mr. Wiesel established The Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity soon after he was awarded the 1986 Nobel Prize for Peace. The Foundation’s mission, rooted in the memory of the Holocaust, is to combat indifference, intolerance and injustice through international dialogue and youth-focused programs that promote acceptance, understanding and equality.

Holocaust Survivor Elie Wiesel on Bosnian Genocide

By Elie Wisel

It’s unimaginable. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by genocideinbosnia

December 8, 2010 at 10:44 pm

JEWISH POST: Holocaust Survivor on Bosnian Muslims and Jews

Remember and Protest War Crimes in Bosnia

Jewish Post, p.4
2 December 1992.

A Muslim people are targeted for extinction, and the West turns away. There is no rationalizing this brutal immorality.

To compare Bosnia and the Holocaust is to invite angry disagreement from some Jewish critics who correctly see the Holocaust as a unique evil, an unprecedented descent into hell. But the uniqueness of the Holocaust does not diminish the force of powerful parallels that do exist between these two tragedies, and no one should understand these commonalities better than the Jews. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by genocideinbosnia

December 8, 2010 at 9:59 pm